The 31st Annual Department of Defense Disability Awards Ceremony was hosted today by Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Wounded Warrior Care and Transition Policy John R. Campbell, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Bethesda, Md. This annual event provides an overview of DoD disability policy and initiatives, recognizes DoD organizations for their efforts in the employment of individuals with disabilities, and highlights the accomplishments of DoD employees and service members with disabilities.
"It is imperative that we as a department continue to recognize the achievements and contributions of these outstanding individuals," said Campbell. "The determination and perspectives they bring serve as immense inspiration while further enhancing the capabilities and diversification of the DoD."
Kathleen Martinez, blind since birth and head of the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy, was the keynote speaker. She discussed diversity and inclusion, which both served as overarching themes within her delivered message.
"Hiring people with disabilities isn't just the right thing to do, it's the smart thing to do. And this awards event shows me that DoD understands this well," said Martinez. "I truly believe that diversity leads to innovation. By fostering a work culture respectful of individual differences, employers benefit from varied perspectives on how to confront challenges and achieve success."
The following 19 DoD employees and service members with disabilities received secretary of defense awards for their outstanding contributions to national security:
Bobbie Mezei, Department of the Army
Trent Moore, Department of the Army
Nathanael Wales, Department of the Army
Sgt. 1st Class Jonathan M. Grundy, Department of the Army
William G. Conley, Department of the Navy
Sgt. Matthew R. Koetting, United States Marine Corps
Robert Rudney, Department of the Air Force
Senior Airman Michael James Malarsie, Department of the Air Force
Tech. Sgt. Frank Reilly, Department of the Air Force
Thomas J. Dembowski, National Guard Bureau
Maj. Leland D. Blanchard, National Guard Bureau
Jamie L. Critchfield, Department of Defense Office of Inspector General
Garth Erik Porter, Army and Air Force Exchange Service
Catherine A. Richardson, Defense Contract Management Agency
Terry Lysaght, Defense Finance and Accounting Service
Pamela A. Circo Webb, Defense Logistics Agency
Sean L. Cumming, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency
Andrew McKay, National Security Agency
Mark B. Rew, TRICARE® Management Activity
The following four DoD components received secretary of defense awards for their outstanding achievements in the employment of individuals with disabilities:
Department of the Navy, Best Military Department Award
Defense Commissary Agency, Best Mid-Sized Component Award
Joint Staff, Best Small-Sized Component Award
Defense Intelligence Agency, Best Intelligence Component Award
Sean P Eagan
Former Chairman American Cold War Veterans